For those of us Clint Eastwood fans who remember him as the young and headstrong Rowdy Yates in the TV series RAWHIDE (1959-1966), going to see the latest Eastwood Big Screen epic is a sobering reminder that time catches up to us all.
In BLOOD WORK, Clint plays Terry McCaleb, a high profile FBI agent who suffers a severe heart attack while chasing (on foot) a vicious serial killer who leaves taunting messages for McCaleb at the crime scene. Terry finds that climbing over fences just isn't as easy at is used to be, but then a Clint Eastwood character in the old days would've just stood back and shot the perp down at long range with his .44 Magnum. Oh, well. In any case, it's now two years later and Terry is just off a heart transplant and retired to his boat. Graciella (Wanda De Jesus) shows up to request that McCaleb get back in harness to investigate the death of her sister, who was murdered in a convenience store holdup. McCaleb at first demurs, but then has a change of heart, so to speak, when he learns that the dead woman was the donor of his new ticker.
The best part of BLOOD WORK, also directed and produced by Eastwood, is watching Clint depict the aging, debilitated and physically vulnerable McCabe, who can perhaps be viewed as a composite of all the other heroes played by Clint over the decades, only older. Eastwood, possibly mindful of his own mortality, is perhaps acknowledging time's inexorable march through Terry's persona. Beyond that, the film had its uneven moments. Paul Rodriguez plays Detective Arrango, a Latino LAPD cop so gratuitously buffoonish and unpleasant that I'm surprised the Brotherhood of Latino Law Enforcement Officers isn't suing. Anjelica Huston overacts her role as McCabe's cardiologist, Dr. Bonnie Fox, who's snappishly unsympathetic to Terry's desire to see justice done for the woman whose heart keeps him alive. Moreover, McCabe early on hypothesizes an unknown circumstantial link between Graciela's sister and another man murdered by (apparently) the same killer. Though Terry is proven right, of course, the evidence for this premature conclusion was decidedly unclear to this viewer at the time. Additionally, it was never explained how the killer got access to crucial blood type records, and this was a major loose end in my book since such data isn't in the public domain. On the other hand, Jeff Daniels does a swell job as Buddy, McCabe's neighbor in the next boat slip. Buddy, an affable but unemployed and self-professed loser, supplements monetary support from his father by acting as Terry's driver during the latter's investigations.
BLOOD WORK has a plot gimmick that eventually leads to a satisfying ending involving McCabe, Graciella and the Bad Guy. Despite its flaws, I liked this film a lot simply because Eastwood will always be my all-time favorite cinematic Tough Guy.
Ex rental Box has wear marks due to label removal Tape is fine